I’ll never forget the day when I found out my son had memorized an entire psalm.
Every night, we recited Bible passage aloud with our kids—with the goal of helping us all memorize a large chunk of Scripture or an entire chapter. Our second oldest child never wanted to recite it with us. He stayed quiet and looked like he was zoning out. Not wanting to make it a battle, we just let him be.
One day when he was about 3 years old, while at a relative’s house, I heard him playing in the living room by himself. I rounded the corner and saw him pick up a big book—he was pretending it was a Bible. He turned to a random page and started reciting Psalm 1 from memory out loud to himself. I stood back, out of sight, and wait for him to finish.
I popped out when he was done and said, “I knew you knew it!”
He slammed the book shut and calmly said, “No, I don’t”
We both laugh about it now, years later, but that day I learned that our simple, nightly family habit was shaping his mind—even if he stubbornly acted as if he wasn’t paying attention.
There are many reasons our family memorizes the Bible. Memorizing the Bible at a young age has so many advantages. Children have amazing memories and are able to absorb so much—so why not fill their minds with the Word of God so it can permeate their souls as they grow and mature?
5 Reasons Our Family Memorizes the Bible
We know that Bible memory isn’t just edifying for our kids—it is also something that nourishes our souls as well. Here are a few reasons why we emphasize it…
1. So we can discern truth from error.
We memorize the Bible so we can discern truth from error. We desire to make right choices and avoid sin. Knowing Scripture helps us guard our minds and make correct choices. Psalm 119:9-11 wisely says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word…I have stored up my word in your heart, that I might not sin against you.”
Ephesians 6:13-18 talks about the armor of God. Is it any wonder that the word of God is likened to a sword? It is able to cut through the lies of this world. Likewise, Psalm 37:30-31 states, “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.” If you want to be righteous, have wisdom, and speak justice—you must have the law of God in your heart.
2. To give us hope and encourage our souls.
Scripture also has the power to give us hope and encourage our souls.
Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
More than this, we are commanded to encourage others (including our kids) with specific promises of hope (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11). Our hope is eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:7). Our hope is that one day, Christ will appear in glory (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13). When he appears, he will proclaim us righteous and at peace with him (Romans 5:1-2; Galatians 5:5) When we see him, we will be resurrected and changed into his image (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 John 3:2-3), giving us a glory that lasts forever (2 Corinthians 3:11). We will be with those who have trusted in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 2:19; 4:16), and we will be given an inheritance can can never perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:4).
3. So we may accurately communicate the gospel to others.
As we speak of God to those around us and witness what he has done in our lives, we may more accurately communicate the gospel to others.
First Peter 3:15 rightly says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
As our kids know more about their hope, and they begin to exude evidence of their personal hope—by showing an inexpressible joy and peace (Romans 15:13; 1 Peter 1:8)—they also need to be equipped to memorize biblical reasons for the basis of our hope…
- Do your children know the prophetic promises, given to our spiritual forefathers, about our hope (Acts 26:6; Romans 4:18; 15:4; Hebrews 6:18)?
- Do your children know the stories of Christ coming to preach peace to those far and near (Ephesians 2:17)?
- Do your children know the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3)?
- Do your children know the riches of what it means for Christ to be in them (Colossians 1:27)?
By equipping our kids with the Scriptures, we train them to share their hope with others.
4. So we get wisdom from God.
We receive guidance from God through the Bible.
Psalm 119:24 says, “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” Similarly, Psalm 119:105 declares, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
The longest psalm in the psalter, Psalm 119, expresses a passionate love for the law of God. It is an acrostic psalm with 22 strophes, each beginning with one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This acrostic pattern communicates to the reader not only an idea of fullness or totality, but also a strong impression of God’s word as “writing”—God has revealed Himself in written letters.
The psalmist relies on God’s law for counsel: “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors” (119:24). The psalmist adopts prophetic language (“open my eyes,” cf. Numbers 22:31), asking God help him see “wondrous things” in God’s law—His great saving deeds in Israel’s history (119:18).
As we teach our kids God’s words, we should be praying with and for them that God will give them new eyes to see the wonder in all God has done, and learn true wisdom as a result.
5. To transform us from the inside out.
The Bible will transform us from the inside out. This was Paul’s vision for transformation. We are part of the new and more glorious covenant—one that brings real righteousness (2 Corinthians 3:9). It’s as we “contemplate the Lord’s glory” displayed in “the face of Christ,” the very image of God, that we are transformed into his image, little by little (3:18; 4:4-6). But how do we contemplate Christ’s glory? By reading and hearing the words of God, aided by God’s Spirit (3:6,15).
As a counselor, I know that thoughts are incredibly powerful things. They shape who and what we are and what we will become. Proverbs 23:7 confirms, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (NKJV). The Bible reminds us of who our God is and who we are as his children. It has the power to shape and transform us into His image.
My Final Thoughts about Memorizing the Bible…
My prayer for myself and my family is for God’s word to be hidden so deeply in the recesses of our heart that it becomes an integral part of who we are. I hope when we’re old and our memories fade we still are able to hold firmly to the promises in the Bible.
Here’s a cute video of our oldest son Bradley in the middle of learning Psalm 130. At this point he didn’t have the whole thing memorized yet, but he was well on his way to completing it. In this video he is about 4 years old.
Does your family memorize the Bible together? Tell me about it in the comments below!
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